MNA Steering Committee Minutes, December 5, 2018

MNA Secretary Meeting/Meeting Minutes


(1) The meeting at Aldrich 51 Apartments was called to order at 7:04 p.m.

2018 Steering Committee members present: Lila Valencia (chair); Preston Tyree (vice-chair); Luke Downs (treasurer); Andrew Clements, Audrey Glaser, Bill Kirwin, Evan McClendon, Dan Updegrove

2018 members absent: Bill Berman, Kathy Farley, Alison Raffalovich

Newly-elected 2019 Steering Committee members present: Penny Brandt, Richard Carr, April Geruso, Bart Glaser, Bart Jacob, Suzanne O’Malley, Maria Salas, John Wooding

Re-elected 2019 Steering Committee members present: Bill Kirwin, Joan Quenan, Preston Tyree, Dan Updegrove

2019 re-elected remember absent: Alison Raffalovich

Guests present: Ani Colt, Karen Sharp, Kathy Sokolic

(2) Minutes of the Nov 7, 2018 Steering Committee Meeting and November 17, 2018 General  Meeting had previously been approved by email vote and posted on the MNA website —

(3) Treasurer’s Report – Based upon Luke Downs’ December 2, 2018 email with spreadsheet attachment. Luke prefaced his report with a reminder that, in accordance with bylaws changes enacted in 2018, the MNA fiscal year will change, as follows:

  • The 2017 fiscal year officially ended Nov 30, 2018.
  • Because we have changed the fiscal year to match the calendar year, the entire 2018 fiscal “year” will consist of the month of December 2018 only.
  • Fiscal year 2019 will begin on January 1, 2019 and end on December 31, 2019.
  • According to federal regulations, the MNA must wait until January 1, 2019 to file paperwork to notify the IRS of this change.

For November 2018, total revenues were $246; total expenses (nearly all attributable to the November 20 Fall Festival) were $1,768, leaving a balance of $10,309 combined in the MNA checking and savings accounts.

Paid memberships for 2018 totaled 402, as compared to 396, 417, and 394 for the three prior years. Increasing membership remains a key goal for 2019 and beyond.

(4) Self-introductions of the seven newly-elected 2019 members. See Appendix A.

(5) Brief committee reports were provided to orient the newly-elected members:

  1. Community Space Initiative (Karen Sharp) – Through a survey, interviews, and meetings beginning in 2016, the committee identified widespread desire for a “community center” space within Mueller that could accommodate a range of meetings and recreational activities. The AISD middle school in Mueller, planned for completion in 2022, is one promising location; development in the tower block is another.
  2. Transition (Karen Sharp) – In 2017 the MNA formed a committee to address issues related to the departure by Catellus Development Corporation, the Mueller master developer, upon completion of the Mueller build-out some years in the future. Well in advance of project completion, a rigorous transition plan will be needed for the Mueller Property Owners Association (POA) to assume responsibility for ongoing operations. In 2018, the Steering Committee accepted the Transition committee’s recommendation to fold its activities into the ongoing work of the POA, however no joint meetings have been scheduled to date. In parallel, the MNA alerted the Mueller Commission (PIAC) of its interest in understanding and planning for this transition, and the Commission has established its own transition focus.
  3. Front Porch Flyer (Kathy Sokolic) – The MNA newsletter was established in 2008 as a hard copy publication, written, edited, and distributed by neighborhood volunteers. A lively source of community news and information, the Front Porch Flyer (FPF), with its display advertising, also became the MNA’s primary revenue source. In 2017, the Steering Committee agreed with the FPF staff’s recommendation to convert the publication to an all-digital format, as the design and distribution effort for the hard copy edition had overwhelmed the volunteers. (The foregone advertising revenue was to be replaced by seeking sponsorships from local businesses.) The FPF was integrated into the MNA website, at < // >. Concerns arose, however, that the MNA’s presence in the community had been diminished, and two commercial enterprises came forward to offer design, printing, and distribution services for a renewed hard copy newsletter. In fall 2018, MNA selected Peel, Inc., an established publisher of community newsletters as publishing partner for content to be provided by MNA, with publication to resume in January, 2019.
  4. External Relations (no report)
  5. Finance (Luke Downs). Fiscal 2017 was the first year that MNA operated with a formal budget. In 2018 the Steering Committee approved a two-scenario budget, incorporating a base (“minimum”) budget ($12,040 revenue; $12,184 expenses) and a “goal” budget ($16,560 revenue; $16,184 expenses). The 2018 Steering Committee closely monitored revenue and expenses as the three primary events were planned and carried out.
  6. Aging & Neighborhood (Ani Colt). Formed several years ago, this committee addresses services, facilities, and opportunities for the community’s older residents, including aging in place and intergenerational activities. An early success has been the formation of the “Wisdom Crew,” a group of 65 residents who meet and enjoy discounts at selected Mueller businesses. A longer-range vision focuses on a prospective multi-use development of the 7.5-acre vacant lot bordered by Berkman, 51st Street, Aldrich, Street, and Barbara Jordan.
  7. Nominations (no report)
  8. Neighborhood Engagement (Audrey Glaser) – In 2018 MNA designed and is distributing a membership brochure to explain the role of the organization and promote membership.
  9. Block Captain Network – A long-established component of MNA is a network of block captains, who volunteer to serve as information resources for residents in their “blocks” (sections of houses or apartments) and as the voice of the MNA. Some of the most recently -constructed blocks do not yet have captains, and some designated captains have been more energetic than others. The Steering Committee seeks to re-energize the network in 2019.
  10. Egg Scramble Spring event – One of the MNA’s three, well-received signature events, which will require leaders and volunteers again in 2019 to plan and manage the activity.
  11. July 4th Parade & Festival – Ditto.
  12. Fall Festival – Ditto
  13. Mueller Yard Sale – MNA provides publicity and arranges for Goodwill Industries to provide a truck to pick up unsold items for these fall and spring events.
  14. Transportation & Urban Planning (Andrew Clements) – This committee has addressed a number of issues over the years related to traffic, parking, transit, and other issues. In 2018 the Committee provided timely input to the Austin Transportation Department leading to a modification in the plan for a two-way bike lane on Zach Scott Street between Airport Boulevard and Berkman Drive. The modified plan increases the number of parking spaces to remain on the north side Zach Scott Street.
  15. Audit (Joan Quenan) – In 2018 the Steering Committee developed the charge for an Audit Committee, which was constituted and carried out audits of the organization’s financial records for 2016, 2017, and the first half of 2018. No material concerns were found, although several recommendations were made, accepted, and implemented to improve the MNA’s record keeping and financial integrity.
  16. MNA Website (Lila Valencia) – The MNA website < // > was complemented in 2018 by a new Facebook page dedicated to publication of MNA news and information < >
  17. Local Business (Lila Valencia) – One role of MNA has been to build bridges between residents and the development’s commercial firms. Virtually every general meeting has included a brief presentation by a Mueller business, and Mueller events provide showcase and sponsorship opportunities for area businesses.

(6) Determination of Steering Committee terms. Among 2018 changes to the MNA bylaws were an increase in the Steering Committee term of office from one year to two, and a change in the limit of consecutive terms from three (one-year) to two (two-year). Additionally, to promote continuity, the amended bylaws call for terms to be staggered, i.e., roughly half of the members could seek re-election each year (unless term limited). To accommodate this one-time transition, the 2019 committee members agreed that coin flips would be a fair way to assign one- or two-year terms (with the exceptions that Preston Tyree is term limited to one year, and Bill Kirwin and Joan Quenan elected to serve one year). After the coin flips, the Steering Committee terms were established as follows:

Two-year term: Penny Brandt, Richard Carr, April Geruso, Bart Glaser, Bart Jacob, Alison Raffalovich, Maria Salas

One-year term: Bill Kirwin, Joan Quenan, Suzanne O’Malley, Preston Tyree, John Wooding Dan Updegrove

(7) Election of officers. Elected to serve one-year terms as Steering Committee officers were:

  • Co-chairs: Preston Tyree & John Wooding
  • Vice-chair: Richard Carr
  • Treasurer: Penny Brandt
  • Secretary: Alison Raffalovich

(8) 2019 Steering Committee Meeting Times — First Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m., at a site to be determined.

(9) Community Builder Awards — Last year MNA established a program to recognize ten residents (and a representative from Catellus) who had contributed to the community in important ways. The “Community Builder” banners, intended for outdoor display, did not hold up well, so a more robust banner will be identified for future awards. The Steering Committee is now seeking nominations for the 2018 awards < // >.

(10) Sponsor Recognition — MNA is grateful for the generous financial support of numerous area businesses, and will express this gratitude with plaques for the four top sponsors — Ascension/Seton, HEB, Neighbors Emergency Center, and Frost Bank — and certificates for all others. MNA sponsors are listed at < // >.

(11) Sponsorship Tiers — Lila drafted and the Steering Committee approved a letter to be sent to area business soliciting sponsors for 2019. In addition, leaders of the three signature events will be authorized to engage with businesses interested in providing event-specific financial or in-kind support.

(12) Seton Auditorium Space Contract — In 2018 Seton provided use of its Administrative Office meeting space for nine Saturday morning general meetings (with the three summer meetings held at Wildflower Terrace). Lila was authorized to contact Seton to seek extension of this contract.

The meeting was a adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Dan Updegrove, Acting Secretary

Appendix A

Mueller Neighborhood Association 2019 Steering Committee Candidate Information

Penny Brandt, 2224 Zach Scott

I just moved here, and I want to learn about the community and also be a part of creating the kind of place that I want to live in. I have been a leader/manager of several non-profit organizations — planned events, paperwork, budgets, etc. I have taken and taught college-level cultural competency courses, designed to improve interpersonal interactions and cross-cultural understanding.  I was previously the President & CEO of the Women Composers Festival of Hartford and am currently the Director of Development for the Composer Diversity Project (

I’m a mom who cares a lot about the neighborhood my kid is going to grow up in.

Richard Carr, 2408 Philomena

My wife and I bought a house and moved to the neighborhood several months ago. I’ve been attending the Neighborhood Association meetings for the past three or four months. We love Mueller and are excited to raise our children here, but we are cognizant of the fact that it is a rapidly changing area. I know that Mueller did not get this way by accident, and I know that hard work of community members is essential to keeping the neighborhood on its great path. We are here for the long haul, so I feel called to contribute whatever I can to that hard work.

All of my jobs are flexible, so I am able to help out at whatever odd jobs or special meetings might crop up. I am also a dedicated urban development/transit nerd. I read most of the information put out by the city on its plans (I even waded through three different versions of the ill fated CodeNEXT). I then take those plans and research the issues from local, state, national, and international perspectives. Like I said, dedicated nerd. However, my main qualification is being new to the neighborhood. I try to stay informed on local issues, but I am keenly aware that I need to hear from people who know more than me. I offer a fresh pair of eyes for any issue, without bringing any kind of external dogmatic baggage.

April Geruso, 2309 Robert Browning

I love this neighborhood and am looking for more meaningful ways to get involved in creating a community that my family and I will enjoy living for years.

Professionally: I am an urban planner by training, a disaster consultant by profession, and the Director of Resilience by title. I want to see sustained success in this neighborhood, and so with my professional background, I think I can provide out of the box thinking for thinking about the community’s long-term success while maintaining the success of the community today. Personally: My family and I seek to spend as much time in our neighborhood as possible, and foster relationships that we hope to be longstanding. My Kindergartener will (likely) be a middle schooler at the new school, and he has already found some of his best friends in the neighborhood. With our personal dedication to the neighborhood, I want to promote that this is a community where young, professional, diverse, enthusiastic Austinites with and without families continue to seek out as their long-term home.

Bart Glaser, 4313 Scales

I love this neighborhood and I want to help to keep it great

I am retired and I have some spare time to work on projects that are in the best interest of the organizations.

Bart Jacob, 4004 Camacho

I have lived in Mueller for 4 years and would like to give back to the community and help Mueller evolve as it expands.

I am a resident and have served on similar boards in prior neighborhoods.

Bill Kirwin

I’m currently serving on the Steering Committee and want to continue for another term. I believe it is important to be involved in our community and help make it a great place for everyone that lives here.

I have been on the Steering Committee for one year, and was the co-chair for the 4th of July Festival for 2018. I’ve been involved in various aspects of the MNA since Karen and I moved to Mueller six years ago. In addition to my role with our MNA, I have served on the Board of Directors for two Non-Profits and was the President of TreeFolks, a local Non-Profit dedicated to planting and protecting our urban forest.

Suzanne O’Malley, 4400 Berkman

I’m interested because Mueller Neighborhood Association asked me to consider helping out with our MNA events and furthering the goal of forming community.

Why am I qualified?  I gave out 1,000 treats on Mueller Halloween.  But seriously, my life is an open book at

Joan Quenan, 3801 Berkman, #234

I love living in Mueller and want to contribute to making it a welcome, inclusive community for all who live here, and a good neighbor to the adjacent neighborhoods.

I’ve served on the MNA Steering Committee for the past year and have been involved in auditing the books of the MNA and organizing the Yard Sales. I bring organizational skills and knowledge of the issues in our neighborhood. As a senior and apartment dweller, I try to represent all people living in Mueller.

Alison Raffalovich, 1936 Antone

I love living in Mueller and want to contribute to making it a welcome, inclusive community for all who live here, and a good neighbor to the adjacent neighborhoods.

I have been on the Steering Committee for a year serving as Secretary and also have been acting Co-Chair of the Neighborhood Engagement Committee during that time. I love getting involved in working to make my community more effective and welcoming, including serving as Board Chair of the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Central Texas, a member of the Mueller Community Singers, team captain for a Meals on Wheels team, and a volunteer with Hospice Austin. I also have 25 years’ experience in business as a communications professional. I would be honored to continue serving on the MNA Steering Committee for another term if elected.

Maria Salas, 4401 Mattie St. Unit F

Thanks to Ani Colt for telling my story to be considered for the Steering Committee. Originally from Mexico City I came to Austin in 1979 to get my PhD. in Linguistics and taught in area universities for many years. I followed Mueller development from its inception and my dream to live here was realized when I moved to an affordable condo in a six-plex on 2014. I have volunteered with CASA, Hospice Austin, Seedling and others like the Community Advisory Board of KLRU. I’m looking forward to collaborate with others in the Steering Committee to add members, increase diversity and inclusion in this Community where I plan to enjoy my next stage of life and age well with my neighbors, family and friends.

Preston Tyree, 4314 Vaughan

Mueller will become one of the most important neighborhoods in the City of Austin as it finishes building out. The neighborhood association should continue to move towards a strong voice for all the residents of Mueller. I would like to be a part of moving to the next level of professionalism and put the association on a strong, inclusive, diverse body dedicated to making out community all it can be.

Having served two years on the committee I am knowledgeable about the intricacies of the operation. My work experience prior to arriving in Mueller provides an extensive background in business operations and management. I look forward to expanding the role of the Association.

Dan Updegrove, 4121 Threadgill

Having moved to Mueller in 2014 after 14 years in northwest Austin, my wife Kim and I immediately recognized that we had landed in a very special neighborhood — master planned but evolving organically. We benefit from the strategic thinking and expertise of the planners and builders, from the “pioneer” residents who helped establish a Mueller culture, and from those who continue to care passionately and work tirelessly to complete the development and ensure that our neighborhood becomes a vibrant place to live and work and contributes to the qualify of life in surrounding neighborhoods. The MNA plays a key role in representing the input and values of residents as our still-evolving community seeks to fulfill its original promise.

The membership elected me to the Steering Committee this year, and I have served on the Budget Committee, the task force that established the charge to the new Audit Committee, and as liaison to the Front Porch Flyer Committee. After nearly a year, I think I understand the history, projects, and promise of the MNA and its relationships to the Property Owners Association, the Mueller Commission, and other entities. I have chaired two non-profit boards and served on several others, including a large condominium association that transitioned from developer control to management by the residents. My academic background in urban planning, urban government, and engineering also provide useful perspective for the work of the MNA.

John Wooding, 2508 Zach Scott

I’ve lived in greater Austin since I was five years old. When I moved to Austin with my single Mom and sister, we flew into the then-Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. Witnessing the evolution of a 700-acre airport site into a vibrant neighborhood and nationally recognized master planned community has been incredible. I recognize what a special place Mueller is and am proud to now call it home. What makes Mueller so great is the sense of community and belonging. I’m interested in serving on the steering committee because I want to make sure that residents continue to have a meaningful channel of communication with one another and to outside entities. As a twenty-five-year-old first-time homeowner, I plan on setting my roots here in Mueller. I want to ensure that years down the road, the robust and active civic life in our neighborhood has not only stayed the same but has gotten even better.

As someone with experience in constituent service, community outreach, and public communication, I believe I can be a great addition to the Mueller Neighborhood Association Steering Committee. My background responding to constituent requests for assistance, inquiries, and meetings in my work for an elected official and a state agency closely aligns with the mission of the association. As a Legislative Aide to Representative Elliott Naishtat during the 83rd and 84th legislative sessions, I served as the first point of contact for all visitors to the Representative’s office. I was responsible for handling several different areas of policy and legislative research. I routinely met and worked with constituents, advocacy groups, and stakeholders on various policy topics while keeping the Representative updated on any issues that were raised. I have been able to develop my public communication skills at the Texas Department of Insurance as a member of the agency’s Disaster Outreach Team. I deployed to local emergency management centers in the Gulf Coast and Houston regions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. I was responsible for answering questions from elected officials and consumers about complex insurance policies and the regulatory role of my agency in ensuring fair and prompt service from insurance providers. I hope that my legislative and outreach experience coupled with my public communication skills qualify me for consideration. I look forward to the opportunity to be considered for this position and discussing my qualifications.